Friday, June 17, 2016
Some time ago I explained how the word fåkkai means "to distribute, pass out, disseminate, divide."
It was not a curse word. Later on it did become a fighting word, as in "I will do you harm" if someone told you, "Bai fåkkai hao!" I reasoned that perhaps the idea came from the original meaning "to divide, break apart." "I will tear you to pieces," comes to mind.
Under American influence, fåkkai received even more negative connotation because of the closeness of sound to an English curse word.
Many people, to this day, are convinced that fåkkai is and can only be a bad word, since the original meaning has been lost to these modern speakers of the language.
However, the literary evidence proves that fåkkai is far from a bad word. It was used in Catholic prayer books and now I have come across it in a Chamorro Catholic catechism.
The title on the page seen above uses the word fåkkai, spelled fakai.
If we remember that one has to divide what one will be distributing, we can see how "Mafakai i Doctrina" means "The Division of the Doctrine," meaning "the Catechism." In other words, the book has to be broken down into parts.
Finakai (I would spell it finakkai) is the noun form of fåkkai. This would make the verb "to divide" the noun "division."
Finenana na finakai means "the first division," meaning the first section, the first part.
Still, there are many people who for years have only understood the word fåkkai to be a bad word that no amount of historical evidence will ever change their minds about it!